- PM slams Imran, ‘minions’ for running a smear campaign
- Newspaper says: ‘We accept Mr Sharif never accused by NAB in relation to British public money or DFID grant aid’
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday denounced Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his “minions” for running a smear campaign against him as, after more than three years, British Newspaper Daily Mail publicly tendered an apology to PM Shehbaz Sharif for publishing a defamatory article against him.
“I bow my head in humility before Allah (SWT) for my vindication. For [three] long years, Imran [and] his minions went to any limit to assassinate my character,” the prime minister said in a tweet hours after the publication published an apology note on its website.
I bow my head in humility before Allah (SWT) for my vindication. For 3 long years, Imran & his minions went to any limit to assassinate my character. In their smear campaign, they didn't bother if their actions brought a bad name to 🇵🇰& damaged its relations with friendly country
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 8, 2022
The premier, who was the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly when the article was published, said in their smear campaign, the PTI did not bother if their actions brought a bad name to Pakistan and damaged its relations with a friendly country.
They mocked & ridiculed me & my family through their baseless allegations but I had my unwavering faith in Allah, for only He could expose their brazen lies. Disinformation & fake news have limited shelf life & truth is ultimate victor. After NCA, Daily Mail story has proven it. https://t.co/4Wn6Mwwg3b
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) December 8, 2022
PM Shehbaz said his critics mocked and ridiculed him and his family through their baseless allegations, but “I had my unwavering faith in Allah, for only He could expose their brazen lies”.
“Disinformation [and] fake news have limited shelf life [and] truth is the ultimate victor. After NCA, Daily Mail story has proven it,” the prime minister tweeted.
British newspaper Daily Mail tenders an apology
British newspaper Daily Mail on Thursday tendered an apology to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for an “error” in its article published on July 14, 2009, accusing him of wrongdoings in a DFID grant aid to Pakistan.
Entitled “Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims”, the article was written by the Daily Mail journalist David Rose.
The newspaper had accused PM Shehbaz Sharif of any wrongdoing with the British public money that had been paid to the Punjab province in the DFID (Department for International Development) grant aid when he was its chief minister.
“We accept Mr Sharif has never been accused by the National Accountability Bureau of any wrongdoing in relation to British public money or DFID grant aid. We are pleased to make this clear and apologise to Mr Sharif for this error,” the newspaper said.
In its apology, the newspaper wrote, “In an article concerning Mr Shehbaz Sharif entitled ‘Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims’ published on 14 July 2019 we reported on an investigation by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau into Mr Sharif and suggested that the money under investigation included a not insubstantial sum of British public money that had been paid to the Punjab province in DFID grant aid. We accept Mr Sharif has never been accused by the National Accountability Bureau of any wrongdoing in relation to British public money or DFID grant aid. We are pleased to make this clear and apologise to Mr Sharif for this error.”
Daily Mail’s apology to PM – ‘slap on the face of opponents’
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday said the apology tendered by the Daily Mail to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on publishing a false story was a “slap on the face of opponents”.
“No corruption has been proven against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who is vindicated by Almighty Allah,” she said in a news statement.
The minister said it was not only PM Shehbaz Sharif but the entire nation, which stood vindicated today.
She alleged that it was Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and his aide Shahzad Akbar, who had levelled allegations against the Sharif family. They had provided the reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau to the Daily Mail for publishing a false story against the prime minister, she claimed.
Marriyum said Imran Khan had invited David Rose, author of the article published in the British daily, to Pakistan for hatching a conspiracy against Shehbaz Sharif, who had appeared in talks shows for the purpose.
ڈیلی میل نے تو شہباز شریف سے جھوٹی خبر پر معافی مانگ لی ہے۔ اب گھڑی چور کب معافی مانگے گا؟#معافی_مانگو_عمران_خان#گھڑی_چور_پھر_پکڑا_گیا pic.twitter.com/hrjJ0o59W2
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) December 8, 2022
Ironically, allegations of corruption were levelled against the person (Shehbaz Sharif), who had shed “his sweat and blood” for the development of Punjab, she added.
She said the Daily Mail had failed to produce even a single piece of evidence in the court to prove its allegations against PM Shehbaz Sharif, and tender unconditional apology once the trial of the case was completed.
The minister said both Imran Khan and Shahzad Akbar had defamed the opponents to satisfy their egos, and they should now apologise to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the nation.
Marriyum thanked the Almighty for the exoneration of all the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders in the false corruption cases filed by the PTI government.
She said Imran Khan had been creating political instability in the country after coming into power in 2018.
Daily Mail apology exposes malicious propaganda
Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah on Thursday said that Daily Mail apology to Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif over erroneous story has exposed malicious propaganda against him.
Alhamdulillah, another malicious propaganda has been exposed!
International Sadiq & Ameen,
Prime Minister SS 🇵🇰🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/IZdKpugIjQ
— Rana SanaUllah Khan (@RanaSanaullahPK) December 8, 2022
In a tweet, the minister said that another malicious propaganda has been exposed through this apology. “Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif is an international Sadiq and Ameen,” he added.
In July 2019, UK’s Daily Mail newspaper accused PM Shehbaz of “embezzling tens of millions of pounds of public money and laundering it in Britain’”
The report, quoting Pakistani investigators, claimed that “some of the allegedly stolen money came from DFID-funded aid projects”.
The report — titled “Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims, asks DAVID ROSE” — said the newspaper was given exclusive access to “some of the results of a high-level probe ordered by [then] prime minister Imran Khan”.
Daily Mail also claimed to have interviewed “key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen Aftab Mehmood”.
“He claims he laundered millions on behalf of Shehbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham — without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.”